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U.S. Ladies [#10]: Always Believe in Gold

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vagabond, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

    Sotnikova has never skated like she did in Sochi before and i don't see her doing it ever again. In fact Gracie beat her out 4 out of 5 times when they went head to head before Sochi.
    mtnskater likes this.
  2. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    Sot certainly has the talent and the technique, although the rule changes on the lutz may be tough for her. It will be interesting to see what she does this season. She wasn't impressive at the Russian Cup, but she was far from a disaster, too.

    Regarding the US rebuilding...if they were rebuilding, I would at least feel good about that. But it appears USFSA doesn't have a clue how to develop ladies skaters in the COP era. The one chosen as the rising star, Polina, has jumps are always borderline, the current star, Gracie, is having all the uniqueness squelched out of her, the "Nationals or bust" mentality has not created solid, aggressive competitors throughout the GP and JGP seasons, they still haven't come up with a solid way to allocate JGP spots and their judges still overemphasize appearance and style at the expense of ice coverage, technique and skating skills (Sam vs. Courtney).
  3. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Lip and Sot being "untouchable" to me would be mainly due to politics if everyone skates their best. Let's face it, the Russians are considered the "IT" girls of figure skating now by practically everyone, and that shows up in the scoring, particularly on PCS. Yes, in general all the young Russians have very good jumping abilities. I think right now that Anna P, although she lands the jumps, she delivers them rather awkwardly and kind of messily. I liked Anna's Firebird costume, but she was not close to expressing anything resembling a firebird in her performance. For me, Satoko Miyahara of Japan (while she is tiny and thus still looks juniorish) is a much tidier and more refined jumper than Anna, Elena R, Lip and Sot (to some extent). Whilst Julia T has come back strong with her great jumping skills, she is not very good in terms of artistry and presentation. Elena R has something special I think, but right now she is muscling her jumps and rushing so fast, I'm afraid she's going to burn to a crisp before she's even close to being marinated and well done. :lol:

    Therefore, I think the U.S. ladies need to forget about the Russians (as best they can). Get the Russians out of their heads and simply bear down and work on improving themselves in the areas where they need to get better in order to compete at peak power. For me Sammi has what it takes in terms of grit and consistency and desire. She just needs someone to help her increase her speed and fix the technical problems on her jumps. I don't say change coaches necessarily, but her coaches definitely need to get outside assistance from those who can provide needed tech support and work with Sammi on ways to increase her speed. Perhaps learning how to practice figures more in-depth would help, since doing figures is actually preparation for acquiring proper technique on jumps.

    I am totally in love with Ashley Wagner, and I'm glad she's showing all her "sonogram" competitors what it means to be a woman on the ice! Keep up the fierceness and the calm, Ashley. Work it, and steadily build to a great season!

    I've spoken at length already re my thoughts on Gracie, in the GSD thread about her fp music.
    AxelAnnie and bronwynsings like this.
  4. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    If anything, all of her competitors, both within Russia and counting US and Japanese ladies too, have some sort of edge call issues.
  5. Maximillian

    Maximillian Well-Known Member

    Alright, warning: :soapbox: ahead---

    I'm pretty disappointed with the U.S. ladies, thus far. And honestly, outside of Michelle Kwan, few skaters improve THAT much between Oct and March--and even Michelle didn't improve THAT much, just she usually went from finishing 2nd to Irina to beating her--- that I buy into the whole,"give them time" spiel. This is not to say that I don't think they can and will improve, but none of them have improved AT ALL from last season and it seems that some of them have regressed. Gracie's peak skating late in the season was good enough for 4th and 5th. Right now she had a questionable 3rd at Skate America. This is not the skating of someone who has a legitimate shot at taking a world title later this year. She just hasn't improved and whether or not you want to compare the American ladies to the Russian ladies right now, the fact remains that 3 of them have skated better than our Number 1 on the Grand Prix so far.

    Ashley doesn't have the lutz anymore and apparently, the 3/3 is never going to happen. She has no inbetweens in her program and was very lucky to defeat Miyahara. I can guarantee you that judges will not be giving her the benefit of the doubt over Satoko for much longer.

    Mirai doesn't know how to compete, even though physically she looks in better shape, but it doesn't seem to matter because the results seem to be the same.

    Really Sam is the only one who knows how to compete amongst these ladies, and for some reason she can't spin and her speed is non-existent. And does the USFS even know that Hicks exists? It seems like they've put all their marbles behind Gracie and have left Courtney to fend for herself. Seriously, this girl is fantastic but it seems that TPTB have about as much interest in nurturing her as they did Tonya Harding.

    It will be interesting to see what Edmonds does, I suspect she'll be a lot stronger than she was a few weeks back, and I really hope she can lay something out there and make a statement. Because thus far, it's been same old, same old. And that isn't going to get the job done!

    :soapbox: complete.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
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  6. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

    I was thinking the state of USA ladies was a usfs problem, but now I think we just have a crop of skaters who are happy being also rans. The only one with fire in the belly is Ashley and I don't think she can overcome her physical limitations.
    Maximillian likes this.
  7. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    Couldn't agree more. There were a couple of moments of opportunities the last 8 years when US could have built momentum and turned things around but they were all squandered.
  8. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Well, there are 5 PCS components. The scores at 2013 Nationals when they both skated reasonably well in the free are very accurate: http://www.usfigureskating.org/leaderboard/results/2013/68390/results.html

    Hicks wins out on SS by far, but Cesario wins out on the rest.

    The same happened in 2014, but to a lesser degree, mostly because Hicks bombed the short and was skating in an earlier group. http://www.usfigureskating.org/leaderboard/results/2014/2014_us_fs_champs/results.html
  9. Sylvia

    Sylvia Still recovering from Worlds...

  10. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Mostly agree. I've posted this before, but would like to repeat it: The 'It's early in the season' and 'give them time' memes drive me crazy. It's also early in the season for the Russian ladies. They are not backing off and I doubt we will see their skating regress much, if at all, by Worlds.

    You mention Kwan: She was also helped by her rep. so she was able to 'go at her own pace' during the GP season after Nagano '98 because she had earned her respect w/ multiple World titles and and Olympic medals. The current US ladies don't have a medal among them.

    Gold, Wagner, et al don't have nearly as much rep as Kwan did and they are competing under a more unforgiving system, so they need to show the World they can go toe-to-toe with Russians NOW.

    I will say that Gold is a superior skater to Hicks and Cesario. I love both of them, but IMO, they have some glaring problems: Hicks doesn't have blade control (wild jump landings) and doesn't commit to her choreography. Cesario has the speed issue. If they somehow improve those, they will both be fascinating skaters. I agree w/ you historically re Mirai, but I think she is developing a competitive mind set. We'll see.
    kwanatic, Messalina and Maximillian like this.
  11. Meoima

    Meoima Well-Known Member

    Well, at this rate I highly doubt that a clean Gold can beat any of the Russian wonder babies if all go clean. Her reputation is not good.
    Ashley has the presentation and very daring but lack the technical content.
    Gold has the technical content but too nervous.
    Polina maybe the only hope.
  12. costumerd

    costumerd Member

    Sotnikova beat a clean Yu Na Kim to win the Olympics, and did it handily. I am completely sure her best skating would fully deserve to beat the American ladies, unless you are now going to argue Wagner and Gold are better than a clean Yu Na Kim too.
    PashaFan likes this.
  13. N_Halifax

    N_Halifax Well-Known Member

  14. costumerd

    costumerd Member

    That also isnt just because she improved. Michelle was often aided in beating Irina at the end of the season by Irina herself who would often choke in the big events after dominating the regular season. I would say Michelle's skating flucuated through a season, and some of her best performances were in Skate America, early in the season, so it wasnt a simple always incline line upwards each season. Given that she never won the Olympics, and only won the grand prix final (past midway the season) once I wouldnt say she always built towards the end successfully. In general I would say she peaked for competitions in the U.S or North America. The 2000 worlds in France (positive) and the 2002 Olympics in SLC (negative) being just about the lone exceptions. 4 of her 5 world titles were in North America which seemed to always pump her up, as she rarely lost competitions in North America, espeicaly Canada.
    Maximillian likes this.
  15. demetriosj

    demetriosj Well-Known Member

    [ And does the USFS even know that Hicks exists? It seems like they've put all their marbles behind Gracie and have left Courtney to fend for herself. Seriously, this girl is fantastic but it seems that TPTB have about as much interest in nurturing her as they did Tonya Harding.


    They have been ignoring her and have put all the eggs in the Gracie basket.........I never understand this USFS lack of support/publicity for all top skaters. USFS always seems to lob on to one and hope for the best. ( and how has that been working for them?)
    Maximillian likes this.
  16. costumerd

    costumerd Member

    I agree Hicks is of little interest to the USFSA. Which means like Gao she will probably never be allowed to make a U.S world team no matter what she does.
    Maximillian likes this.
  17. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    The "it's early in the season" stuff just sets me on edge! What, they didn't know the competition was coming? They didn't realize they needed to be ready? Was there a memo the Russians got that our girls did not?

    What a crock. Our girls especially need to peak at every competition. They need to skate their career depends on it...cause it does.

    The other thing I hate is ....well X skater always peaks at Nationals.
    Does that mean they hold back in all the other competitions. I can understand getting better and stronger with each competition . Building as you go along, strengthening, adding, polishing. That is what all the skaters are doing. Polina came out of the gate ready to skate. Not waiting for................I am not sure.

    Samantha C. performed very, very well.......even taking into consideration her illness and injury. She was ready to roll.

    I was surprised after seeing Ashley's LP (which I loved, even though I am not a fan of the music) to find that Bourne had choreographed the program. I would have expected a lot more intricacies in the in-betweens.
    kwanatic and Maximillian like this.
  18. eternitygoddess

    eternitygoddess Well-Known Member

    That doesn't mean anything, given how judging at Sochi worked. Unless the Russian Fed is able to boost up her scores at every competition she skates at henceforth from now until 2018.
  19. costumerd

    costumerd Member

    I know she was overscored in Sochi and I honestly dont enjoy her skating and style of skating at all, but there are some who even agree with her win (albeit almost nobody with her scores). Which means even in a fairly scored competition she probably would have been close to a perfect Kim and perfect Kostner, and fact is in the results she did beat both and comfortably in a big competition, even if one with home ice and more biased scores than usual. So unless one thinks any of the current U.S girls at their current level are atleast somewhat competitive with Kim or Kostner even skating her best (and I doubt anyone seriously thinks that) a clean Sotnikova would deserve to beat any current American. Even if she is overmarked she would deserve to beat Gold and for sure Wagner or anyone else one might think of, atleast until those skaters improve significantly in addition to skating cleanly.
  20. eternitygoddess

    eternitygoddess Well-Known Member

    ^In a fair competition, she'd be at least 10 pts behind Kostner and Kim. I would think the gap would be similar to Lipniskaia and Asada at WC2014.
  21. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Some interesting points of view by many expressed here. In the long run though, I think we have to remember that actually a lot of things were different when Michelle Kwan was first coming up, including the scoring system. In fact, it was Michelle who started this whole latter day young phenoms winning medals at a young age. However, medals weren't hurriedly handed to MK when she was a jumping bean at 14 and 15 years of age. She had to so-called "wait her turn." But after 1995 Worlds, when MK skated better than everyone ahead of her and still missed out on a medal, Frank and the team around MK said, "Ok, now, that's enough of disregarding Kween, let's go for some shock and awe." Salome 1996, and the rest is history.

    Come on, re this years later quarterbacking on the pace of MK's seasons. Like I said, a lot of things were different then. The GP series was just beginning to become important. As far as MK and her rivals, well she was simply dominant in terms of her all-around ability, competitive fire, and rare consistency. When someone is that dominant, there's lots of jealousy, nitpicking, and the desire to find someone other than the dominator to win. A skater like MK may come around once perhaps in several generations, or maybe just once in a lifetime.

    There are lots of factors involved in skaters' careers, not the least of which is luck. Michelle could have won several more Worlds and at least one Olympics if luck had been on her side in certain competitions and situations. At this point, I don't care MK never won the Olympics. No one in her generation or this current one can compete with what she accomplished. Lots of very good skaters who have impacted/ are impacting the sport have never and are never going to win the Olympics or even medal at the Olympics, unless the sport makes some drastically needed changes to accommodate the depth of talented skaters that currently exist in a number of countries. Looking back at the history of this sport is quite revealing. I have recently been closely reading and learning a lot from James R Hines' Figure Skating: A History.

    No, Wagner and Gold at this point are not better than Yu Na at her best. I don't see how you extrapolate that from my comments about Sotnikova and the rest of the Russians. :lol:

    If you don't think Sot's Olympic win had something to do with politics, oh well. :duh: As I've said plenty of times, Sot was on fire, and since the fix was in for a Russian lady to definitely podium (expanded to the distinct possibility of winning gold after Lip's showing at team comp), then I'm glad it was Sot who grabbed singles gold rather than Lip, who already had her team gold.

    Under ordinary circumstances, Sot's showing might have garnered her bronze. I'm sure Sot was on fire partly because she was mad at not being included in the team event, plus she knew if she skated her best she had an excellent chance to win in Sochi. Yu Na skated fine, but somewhat lackluster IMO because she likely only came back for a second Olympics partly out of patriotic duty. With better confidence and better tech content, and in any other place but Russia, perhaps Carolina might have had more of a chance to win. And, as well, Mao with a better sp would most likely have won gold with her lights out free skate, perhaps pushing Sot to silver. In any case, I disagree that Sotnikova "beat a clean Yu Na handily." It wasn't a "handily" win by any means, regardless of the judges' scores. :p
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
    cbd1235 likes this.
  22. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    Re: Hicks

    The Hicks vs Gold comparison is an interesting one. They are both powerful skaters with big jumps (well Gold used to be). However, Gold had the posture, form and finesse that Hicks sorely lacked. And not that Gold was an artist or showman of any sort, but Hicks was much weaker in terms of expression. It isn't just about the kind of stereotypical ice princess that USFS wants, it's also about the watchability and skating quality involved. Her back and feet do give me a headache. Not even Slutskaya looked that hideous on ice (OK except when she did that hydrant spiral). It was Onda level of ugliness. [sorry to offend anyone, I was just trying to make a point]

    Since Hicks and Gold were about the same in consistency, why would the USFS help root for the one with inferior skating quality? Hicks would probably have more support if she had backed up her 4th at US Nationals in 2013 with a strong Jr Worlds or another strong season in 2014. But she didn't.

    Meanwhile, Gold medalled during the GP season and killed it at 2014 Nationals, and also skating relatively solidly at Olympics and Worlds. She has earned her support from USFS.

    US ladies skating has lost its top ranks since Kwan / Cohen retired and the only Nationals champion that repeated was Wagner (and even that was controversial to some). I totally understand why they want to focus on promoting those top 3 or 4 promising US ladies only. Sadly Hicks just missed the cut.
  23. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    I assume you are referring to my post. I don't consider it late quarterbacking. I think I'm bringing up something relevant and while no U.S. lady has specifically said so, I think that U.S. ladies perhaps subconsciously pattern their seasons off of Kwan, because it worked well for her but like I said, it worked well for her because she had already established herself and she was never about to get lost in the pack.
  24. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    They should support both Gold & Hicks, the two US ladies who don't have issue with underrotations, or haven't yet anyway.

    Seriously, they should be investing loads of time and attention into Courtney's development.
    demetriosj and Maximillian like this.
  25. NYScorp6

    NYScorp6 Member

    I don't get all the Gracie vs. Courtney USFA conspiracy theories. It doesn't seem to me that the USFA is intentionally holding Courtney back, I seem to recall that she was being promoted prior to her missing a year due to injury as a up and coming lady. Of course she was with John Nicks who carried much influence with the federation. She might have medaled at Skate Canada had she not doubled the lutz and received zero points for that element in the short. I think once she begins to rise in the standings and receives more funding she will be able to expand her choreographers and team, which will absolutely help not only on the national scene but with the international judges as well. I believe she has begun that this season.
  26. kwanatic

    kwanatic Well-Known Member

    I'm very proud of Ashley for skating solidly but I'll repeat what I said in my blog re: her skating this year--she's proven she has what it takes to remain competitive in the field, but if she wants to be competitive at the top, she has got to up her technical content. If she makes it to the Final this year she will be dusted by the rest of the Russians in TES.

    I do think she got a bit lucky at SC. IMO, Miyahara had a strong case for silver but I'm fine with Ashley beating her out...for now. Ashley's lack of in-betweens in her FS are a little troubling. She so many front-crossovers in that program! It'd be interesting to have a count of how many crossovers Ashley does versus how many some of the other ladies do. I'd guess hers is probably 2x if not 3x more...

    Courtney is still really rough around the edges but her jumps are insane! Major air time and height, but she lacks control of her landing edge. She needs someone else to work with her to help her clean that up.

    IDK what's going to happen with the US ladies this season. I really hope Polina throws down in China. I doubt she'll be able to beat Julia if she's clean but a strong performance is all we can hope for.
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  27. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    No, I was not only referencing your post, olympic. ITA with the spirit of what you said in your original post on the topic where you are replying to Maximillian. I agree with some of what many posters have said (including some of what Maximilian had to say), but I have some specific differences in agreement, and slightly different takes.
  28. costumerd

    costumerd Member

    Fine if you think that, but the bottom line is Sotnikova from Sochi still is way better than anything Gold, Wagner, Edmunds, Cesario could produce even skating their best, and even with fair judging would come out ahead everytime skating that way, unless those fine ladies not only skate their best, but all improve significantly in numerous areas. At the very least you can concede that much. Lipnitskaya, even if regularly overscored herself, is way too consistent for the U.S ladies, and have gained judges momentum and respect that you earn through that consistency. Also while she has her flaws her huge base values, amazing spins and spirals (which are better than Nagasu who is the best American and far better than the more competitive Americans at the top of U.S skating), and musicality, command, and audience connection, would likely deserve to beat even a clean top U.S girl too.

    Wagner just technically isn't strong enough to even deserve to beat either of those if both skate their best. Cant do any hard jump combination, spins too lacking, and cant even do a real lutz and has other technique issues. Even Miyahara who has tiny jumps is now crushing a good Ashley on TES. She would need to majorly up her TES to beat a clean Russian even with fair scoring. Gold would have to greatly improve her artistry and performance abilities, and her jumps are no longer even as impressive as Sotnikova's huge ones, and Sotnikova and Lipnitskaya outspin her too.
  29. tutuchat

    tutuchat Member

    I agree completely plus she does keep improving with each outing. I also object to the many negative comments I have read on fsu about Courtney, her looks, style costumes. We should be building up skaters not tearing them down.
  30. clairecloutier

    clairecloutier Well-Known Member

    That's what the fan threads are for.